Art: Bird

Two years ago, at the exhibition of the John Quinn Collection in Manhattan, old ladies and dilettantes gathered round an object, gaping, making a murmur of "Is it a bird? If it isn't, what is it? Whatever it is, is it art?" It was tall, shiny, spindling, like a magnification of an exclamation point, like a Freudian symbol. Manufactured by famed Sculptor Constantin Brancusi of Rumania, it was titled, with a supreme disregard of appearance, with an arrogant, baffling simplicity, "The Bird."

Last week this scene was replayed in the Customs Court...

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